Timebridge – the time broker

I’ve just had a look at the offering from Timebridge and can actually see this being a winner in the corporate space. Check out the “See It” presentation.

In essence, Timebridge attempts to solve the problems [mainly time involved] in arranging meetings. You know the thing
– you propose a time to a group of people that you want to involve in a meeting
– some say yes and others no
– so you go round the loop again & again, trying to accomodate everyone only to find that not only have you spent ages arranging the meeting but the only convenient time seems to be in 2 months time!

Sometimes you are lucky that you share a calendar system [MS Exchange or Airset] and can see other people’s free/busy time. But its also fairly common that outsiders are also to be invited & then the problem begins.

I have about 4-6 meetings per day which almost always involve outside parties, who each have busy schedules themselves. Consequently, I am very familiar with the aggro involved in scheduling – no, I don’t have a PA and never have used a PA as I prefer to organise my own schedule, deal direct with people & have always done my own typing/docs/travel arrangements….I’m not disputing that some people are considerably more efficient with a PA and that they make a huge difference in a big corporate, just that it doesn’t suit me.

So how does it work
– I pick a bunch of times & these get notified to meeting invitees by email. If I were an Outlook user (which I use as a secondary email client, with my blackberry being my main email device), it would also reserve all of those times
– the invitees click the weblink on the email and, via the browser, nominate against each option whether they are free/busy and which suits them best; Timebridge then works out the best time from their responses & notifies the attendees – automatically, updating my outlook with the chosen time (I synch my blackberry to Outlook and it in turn synchs with Airset which is remarkably easy)
– In addition, Timebridge also creates a meeting micro-site allowing you to post documents to the attendees, post an agenda which all can contribute to and make notes on

Why do I like it
– it looks simple
– it solves a problem that many people have and I can see I’d pay for it on a subscription given the timesaving involved [not sure how much yet]
– the meeting micro-site would be handy

However, there is one big condition [don’t know what Timebridge do here] – do not make my invitees join as users in order to use the system. As an online app freak who has virtually migrated everything I do to online apps, the only grief I get is from other people whom I try to interact with who resent having to sign up for the apps I want to use for collaboration them.

I can understand that if Timebridge are tempted to make meeting invitees sign up asfrom their perspective they would benefit enormously from huge viral benefits of me encouraging others to participate in my convenient world. BUT from experience I know that you just hack people off – moreover, passionate users will promote it and invitees will have it explained to them at the meeting why this service is so cool!

Hope the experience matches the promise!

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